Catering colleges and aspiring chefs across the UK are being urged to enter the Country Range Student Chef Challenge after the deadline was extended to December 18th to allow more time for teams to enter and for them to perfect their menus.

With the Challenge celebrating its 25th year anniversary and the criteria this year focussing on the essential core skills and techniques studied on a second-year professional cookery course, the organisers decided a deadline extension was needed to ensure the best of the UK’s aspiring chefs have time to enter for what is set to be the best competition year yet.

Emma Holden, organiser of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, said:

“The start of the college year in September and lead up to Christmas can be such a busy period for lecturers and students so we felt it was only fair to extend the deadline by two weeks to allow the teams to fine-tune their menus. With it also being the 25th anniversary of the Challenge, we want to make it extra special and have as many teams enter as possible so hopefully the deadline extension will allow us to do this.”

The Challenge has become the pinnacle for full-time hospitality and catering college students looking to showcase their culinary prowess and creativity in team situation, while developing “real life” catering skills and experience under intense pressure situations. To win the prestigious title, teams of three students will be required to plan, prepare and execute a three-course, four-cover menu in 90 minutes.

The Criteria
The cost per cover is £8 and the menus must include:

  • An Asian themed seabass starter – this must be made using a whole seabass, which must be filleted and presented to judges with bones and trim displayed.
  • A main duck dish cooked any way – demonstrating butchery skills, Students must remove both legs from the Duck and remove the bones by tunnel boning, then remove both breasts and present boned legs breasts and the carcass to the judges. Portion size for the dish is to be half a breast per person and some of the leg meat.
  • A classically creative dessert with a modern twist that contains at least 30% of Country Range Chocolate Drops

To entice the UK’s best student chefs, the prize for the winning team for this special anniversary year will be a day’s work experience placement at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The triumphant team will also be taken on foodie tour of London, which includes a guided tour of the capital’s famous Billingsgate Market where they will be taught fish filleting skills by the resident master fishmonger.

Emma Holden added:

“Now more than ever there is a great need to change the negative perceptions that working in the hospitality and catering industry can have and highlight what a fantastic career it provides. With the existing skills shortage set to be accelerated by the outcome of Brexit it is essential that we focus on attracting young people to the industry and provide them with the skills they need to excel in the workplace. The Challenge, and other competitions, can play a huge part in this by raising the profile of the industry as well as giving students a platform on which to showcase their talents as the future stars of hospitality and catering.”

For full details of the Challenge, criteria and where you can get your sample of the Country Range Chocolate Drops, visit

About Country Range

With over 25 years of heritage servicing the UK’s innovative foodservice sector, Country Range is the leading independent foodservice brand and now offers over 800 products, all developed exclusively for professional caterers. Covering grocery, chilled, frozen and non-food, Country Range is widely recognised by caterers as a trusted and reliable brand delivering consistent quality and value for money without compromising on taste and flavour. The brand is developed and produced by the Country Range Group and is distributed exclusively by the 12 independent wholesalers that make up the Group.


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